Aggressive audits and a wave of legal action against delinquent taxpayers are just two of the reasons behind the “unprecedented” performance of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the first half of the year.
This was recently noted by GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia. He told the Guyana Standard that in two years, the entity was able to achieve a 40 percent increase in revenues. In fact, it is the first time in years the GRA was able to collect $6.3B in arrears, along with a number of increases in other categories of taxes Statia said.
The tax chief said, “I have always said that if we improve on our management skills and investigative capacity, we can collect a lot of taxes that is lying out there that is evading us. And the arrears alone can testify to this. Arrears are taxes collected passed the due date. So if it is supposed to be collected on April 30, and you collect it passed that date, then it is considered part of arrears. It is also arrears if it is taxes collected this year for previous years. The tax amnesty as you would be aware, allows us to collect taxes owed from previous years with the minimization of penalties.”
The Tax Chief said, too, that there are sizeable arrears which were collected by the Authority based on audits on certain companies. He declined to reveal the names of the entities while noting that a series of investigations are still ongoing.
Further to this, Statia said, “So the $6.3B is a mixture of all these things and we have been aggressive in going after those who owe us. As for the tax amnesty, this has been working for us and we will know the degree of its success when it comes to an end in September. The amnesty would have been a sizeable amount. It is about half of the $6.3B in arrears for the first half of the year.”
Statia anticipates that the $6.3B will reach $10B before the end of the year.